Sparks Fly At Bridgewater Over Dalio’s Pro-China Stance

Sparks Fly At Bridgewater Over Dalio’s Pro-China Stance

American attitudes towards China remain extremely mixed (and apparently stratified by ‘wealth’). As we first noted some time ago, Negative views of China have increased substantially since 2018: “Today, 67% of Americans have “cold” feelings toward China on a “feeling thermometer,” rating the country less than 50 on a 0 to 100 scale. This is up from just 46% who said the same in 2018.”

The picture is very different on the corporate side of America with most recent examples including Jamie Dimon flip-flopping and bending the knee to Beijing about a ‘joke‘, NBA and LeBron James ignoring Enes Kanter Freedom’s warnings about Uyghur genocide, and Ray Dalio – founder of the world’s largest hedge fund – who this week drew an odd equivalence between China and US when asked about investing in the communist nation amid human-rights’ abuses:

“I look at the United States, and I say, well, what’s going on in the United States and should I not invest in the United States” because of “our own human-rights issues, or other things?”

“What they have is an autocratic system and one of the leaders described it that the U.S. is a country of individuals and individualism…in China it is an extension of the family,” says @RayDalio. “As a top down country what they are doing is–they behave like a strict parent.”

— Squawk Box (@SquawkCNBC) November 30, 2021

This remark triggered both silence and outrage among the two pro/anti-China camps, and prompted Bridgewater CEO David McCormick, who also happens to be considering a US Senate run as a Republican candidate, to make it clear that he disagrees with Dalio’s views.

During a company-wide call, McCormick addressed the controversial remarks that Dalio had made this week on television. As Bloomberg reports citing people with knowledge of the matter, McCormick told staff he’s had lots of arguments about China over the years with Dalio and that he disagrees with the billionaire’s views (not that it has stopped him from investing in China, that is).

The fact of the matter is that Dalio is not an idealist, but a pragmatic capitalist (who unlike so many of his Wall Street peers does not preach and moralize on the topic of China while doing precisely the opposite) and wants simply to put his capital to work in the place where it will garner the best return adjusted for risk. To him, it appears China is among those opportunities for growth – never mind the genocide, ‘disappearances’, totalitarianism, and increasingly weak property right. In other words, he is merely looking after his own and his investors interests.

Of course,  this ‘Wall Street’ perspective is verboten in a world of political correctness and SWJness, which makes Dalio’s public expression of ‘greed uber alles’ all the more notable in a world seemingly tearing itself apart over wealth inequality, income inequality, outcome inequality… and willing to virtue-signal left, right, and center in order to achieve sainthood even as the money into China keeps flowing to a record degree!

As The Wall Street Journal writes, this is the sort of comment that sours Americans on Wall Street and opens executives to accusations of being “citizens of the world” before they are Americans. Mr. Dalio wants freedom to invest where he pleases, but if Wall Street titans convey contempt for America’s system of government, then voters will curtail their prerogatives through the political process.

Finally, do not forget that in November, Bridgewater raised 8 billion yuan ($1.3 billion) for a new private fund in China. That brought the firm’s total onshore assets under management to more than 10 billion yuan.

Meanwhile, most Wall Street firms are similarly investing aggressively in China, while turning a blind eye to China’s epic human rights violations even as they continue to preach and lecture the world on what not to do in the US.

Tyler Durden
Sun, 12/05/2021 – 13:00

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